Oscar Wilde’s faintest, earliest memories were almost dim beyond recall, a face above him, hair bright orange and standing straight up, a wild face with vivid makeup. He saw it in his dreams, that face, and the voice that went with it, mixed with the distant screech of an instrument that he had no name for.
In the ear of that wild pixie head, a green pin dangled, throwing sparkles. And always in his dreams, Oscar laughed, reaching for it, desperate to grab hold of that image.
He lost the pin in his schooldays, but kept the dreams forever.
Six hours ago, Curt had pulled Brian and a bottle of wine out of the lounge into a bedroom with a single glance. As the morning dawned and the quiet click of the door closing sounded, Brian’s eyes flashed open. His head was pounding and his mouth was dry, and he couldn’t face any of them - not Mandy, not Jerry. Not yet.
“Curt,” he whispered softly. Curt stirred gently, making a tiny noise that indicated he was listening and moved closer to Brian’s warmth.
“Come with me,” Brian went on. “We’ll go away together, somewhere quiet, the coast or something. Just for a few days.” He started to sit up, head already clearing just at the promise of what could come.
He could feel Curt begin to wake up. “Hammersmith?” he asked.
“We’ll come back before then, of course,” Brian said. “It’s just, I want to be with you, not with any of them around. I don’t want to talk to them, or see them.”
“Okay,” Curt said, and immediately went from half-asleep to completely awake, getting out of bed before Brian stood up.
Brian wrote a quick note to Mandy, leaving it on the dresser table, and naked, they slipped out the door and down the hall. It was far too early for anyone to be awake yet, just an autumn morning, still bright, with the faintest hint of a nip in the air.
In Brian’s dressing room, they put on the plainest clothes they had, just jeans and white shirts. On the floor in a corner, Brian spotted an old blue scarf and picked it up to knot around his neck. A green pin glimmered in it, long ago stolen from Jack Fairy.
Brian put his hand out to Curt. “Won’t you come with me, to a place that’s real?” he sang softly, acappella.
Curt took his hand and drew him close, singing back. “Take my hand, and we’ll find a thrill.”
Hand-in-hand, they walked out into the sunlight.
Jack Fairy knew the pin, of course. Every sparkle and twinkle was familiar, and now Curt was wearing it. All the long-forgotten schooldays filled with broken lips and broken dreams seemed to come rushing back.
“You know, that pin belonged to Oscar Wilde,” he said, days later, when they were sitting together in some posh hotel room, cigarettes in one hand, drinks in the other. “It came from the stars, first, and glitters among us, reminding us that the future is in our hands.” He leaned forward, brushing the back of his hand against Curt’s cheek. “You have been singled out for a great gift,” he whispered. “The gift of dreams.”
Curt set down his beer and kissed Jack. “You don’t want me,” Jack said, softly, the kiss finished.
“I’m the past,” Jack said, very close. “You’re still tangled up with now, but what you really want is the future.”
When Arthur walked out of the bar, green pin carefully dried and in place against his collar, Curt was waiting for him. A step out of the shadows and they were walking side-by-side.
“You remembered me, then?” Arthur asked the question, as unnecessary as it was.
“Eventually,” Curt responded, slicing a quick glance at him.
“And now?” Arthur was cautious, playing it carefully. He knew what he wanted, but it was up to Curt to say it. The streetlights made puddles of golden light in the dark, and Curt’s face, too, seemed alight.
“Come with me,” he said, and took Arthur’s hand, pulling him along for a second before letting go.
The way seemed familiar and Arthur realised all too soon that they were headed back toward the bar where ‘The Divine Miss Mandy Slade’ appeared ‘Nitely’. Arthur remembered in a flash a confiding hug and a kind lie.
“You’ve spoken to Mandy, have you?” Curt said, and in answer to Arthur’s unvoiced question, explained: “When you’re screwed, abused, and dumped by the same man, you know where you stand with each other. Mandy’s a good friend, and her club is a safe place.”
A small ‘Reserved’ sign sat on one of the back tables in the crowded bar, and Curt turned the sign upside down as he indicated they should sit there. On stage, Mandy, clad in glitter eye-makeup, a blonde wig, and a form fitting bodysuit, looking completely different than she had when Arthur met her before, cracked jokes nearly twenty years old while introducing the next band.
“All right, this next band are as subtle as the piece of skin between my vagina and my anus!” she trilled. “What’s that called, does anyone remember what that’s called?” She pretended to pause for a moment, hearing imaginary answers from the crowd. “No man’s land, is it really!” The crowd tittered somewhat half-heartedly. “Anyway, here they are - Glitterbomb!”
A group of what appeared to be Brian Slade clones filled the stage, and Curt shuddered. Mandy jumped down off the stage into the crowd, making her way over to them.
“Curt, darling!” she exclaimed, giving Curt a hug. Looking Arthur over, she turned back to Curt and whispered something.
Curt answered softly, but Arthur could hear that he said, ‘Yes, I know, but he’s one of us.” Mandy nodded at that and put out a hand to Arthur.
“I think we’ve met before, ‘journalist from the Herald’”, she said.
Arthur indicated the band, who were frankly awful, with his hand. “So, these guys. I thought glitter was dead, so they must be zombies?”
“Aren’t we all, darling?” Mandy said, and for a moment he could see the face of the tired middle-aged woman he’d met earlier peeking through her mask. “We had our glorious, gorgeous youth, and we’ll spend the rest of our days trying to recapture it.”
Curt took a breath, and said slowly, “I don’t think I want to do that. Not any more. I want something new.” He held out a hand to Arthur, and quoted softly, “‘I wanna tear it down.’ Tommy Stone, the president, the whole deal. Let’s fucking end it, expose it all to the world.”
Arthur took his hand. “It’s all about image, isn’t it?” he said. “What you said to me earlier. ‘A man’s life is his image.’”
“It’s more than that,” Curt said, lifting his hand and tracing the outline of the pin at Arthur’s collar. “It’s about the future. About all those kids out there who know how to dream but can’t see that dreams can come true. I said before that we wanted to change the world, but just ended up changing ourselves.”
“But there’s nothing wrong with that,” Arthur said. “If you don’t look at the world.”
Mandy shook her head. “You know why we didn’t change the world? We weren’t thinking about the world. We were just thinking about ourselves.”
Twenty years down the line, the years from 1984 to 1986 would be known as the days of the Wild Revolution, the days when the world changed forever, in a sudden sharp shock. Millions lulled by false promises awoke, spurred on by a story, spoken by a dreamer wearing a green pin.
Arthur Stuart finally found his image, and the green pin its destiny.